Costco has announced that payment card information may have been stolen from shoppers at its stores.
Costco is a U.S. multinational corporation that operates a large chain of membership-based retail stores and is the fifth-largest retailer in the world according to the Fortune 500 and the tenth-largest company in the United States by total sales.
The company has 737 warehouses around the world and also operates e-commerce sites for multiple global regions including the Americas, Europe and Asia.
A skimmer device was planted in a Costco warehouse
The break-in came to light when Costco discovered a payment card skimming device in one of its warehouses during a routine inspection conducted by its personnel.
The company has removed the device, notified authorities, and is currently working with law enforcement agencies investigating the incident.
The company has also sent out information breach notifications to potentially affected customers, telling them that “we recently discovered a payment card skimming device at a Costco warehouse that a customer recently visited.
Our member records indicate that you made a purchase at the subject terminal using your payment card during a time when the device may have been activated.
Customers’ payment information likely stolen
Individuals affected by this incident have commented that their payment information may have been stolen if the person who planted the card theft device had access to their information before the skimmer was discovered and removed.
If an unauthorized person was able to retrieve information from the card theft device before it was discovered, they may have obtained the magnetic stripe of your payment card, including your name, card number, card expiration date, and CVV.
Costco advises customers to check their bank and credit card statements for unauthorized charges and to report any suspicious transactions to the relevant financial institutions.
The information breach notification letter sent to affected customers does not disclose the total number of affected customers or the location of the warehouse where the skimmer device was found.
The company has not revealed the exact timeline of the incident, but Costco customers have been complaining about unauthorized transactions on their payment cards since at least February 2021